STATIC-X has explained its decision to enlist a vocalist who will wear a mask in the likeness of late frontman Wayne Static during the band's upcoming reunion tour.
The North American trek, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of STATIC-X's platinum-certified "Wisconsin Death Trip" album and pays homage to Static, features co-headliner DEVILDRIVER and support from DOPE.
While the identity of STATIC-X's touring singer has not been officially revealed, strong rumors suggest that DOPE frontman Edsel Dope will pull double duty during the trek and perform with drummer Ken Jay, guitarist Koichi Fukuda and bassist Tony Campos.
On April 2, Jay, Fukuda and Campos released a statement in which they addressed the criticism they received from some STATIC-X fans who were seemingly offended by what they perceived to be a cheap attempt to present the band's new singer as a pale imitation of Wayne.
They wrote: "After releasing our latest teaser, we noticed that some of you are curious about how we came to our decision regarding the mask and the visual presentation of our touring vocalist. In the end, the answer is pretty simple.
"As many of you know, Tony came across some unfinished studio sessions, featuring Wayne's final works last year. He eventually enlisted the original 'Wisconsin Death Trip' band, along with our original producer Ulrich Wild, to help finish the recordings and complete what will be a brand new STATIC-X album titled 'Project Regeneration'. The album is turning out to be something very special and we look forward to sharing more with you all very soon.
"The response to the album announcement was incredible and the 20th-anniversary 'Wisconsin Death Trip' tour / memorial to Wayne Static was announced a few short months later…
"Let us begin by restating the obvious. This is the 'Wisconsin Death Trip' 20th-anniversary tour. Therefore, these events are 100% about nostalgia for everyone involved. This was not about setting the tone for the future or about putting a new face to the band or establishing a new identity for STATIC-X. This is about experiencing the vibes of an old-school STATIC-X show 'live and loud' 20 years later, while we honor our dear friend Wayne Static.
"The search for a touring vocalist for STATIC-X was not an easy one. First, we wanted to keep the continuity that STATIC-X has always had on stage. It has always been four guys. Drummer, guitarist, bassist and a singer who also plays guitar. In addition, we wanted to select someone that we had familiarity with. Someone who knew us and someone who knew Wayne and someone who had a connection to our community. Someone who would take this personally, because this is very personal to all of us.
"Once we found our guy, we began to discuss the stage show and the visual presentation for the tour. In the end, it was actually our touring vocalist who suggested that he wear a mask on stage. Out of respect for Wayne and for the band, he didn't feel that it would be right for his own image or identity to be placed in the center of something that he had nothing to do with creating. This struck the three of us as an incredibly selfless and humble gesture.
"The truth is, he could have been very self-serving and looked at this as an opportunity for him to raise his own profile and to put his name and face out there for all of you to see. Instead, he expressed the exact opposite intentions. He also explained that the idea of wearing a mask would allow him the freedom to get lost in the vibe of STATIC-X and to completely disconnect from his own identity and ultimately serve STATIC-X better. Further, he expressed that the mask itself, along with his performance each night could act as a unique part of the memorial to Wayne. A tribute, for lack of better words.
"Before we moved forward with any of our creative decisions, we first shared our ideas and designs with Wayne's family. They have given us their full support every step of the way.
"Let us also acknowledge that Wayne was much more to STATIC-X than our talented vocalist and guitarist. His trademark static-electrified hair proved to be just as unique and identifiable to STATIC-X as his incredible voice. In time, the STATIC-X hair would become a signature part of the band's identity as well as its identifiability.
"The mask was already something that was decided on, so the hair just naturally followed…
"All of this has allowed us to channel the vibe and the spirit of STATIC-X through another vocalist, without taking any of the focus away from the four people who originally created STATIC-X and brought you 'Wisconsin Death Trip' 20 years ago.
"The motivation is simple and the result is undeniable… The mask, the hair, and the overall presentation we have chosen immediately makes you think of Wayne Static and STATIC-X. In the end, that is ALL that this is about.
"This is about STATIC-X. This is about the 20th anniversary of 'Wisconsin Death Trip', and the nightly / global memorial to our brother Wayne Static. Anyone who doesn't 'get it' is just not looking closely enough.
"We OBVIOUSLY wish that Wayne was here doing this with us. Ufortunately, that is not an option. Rather than putting someone else's face in his place for our 20th-anniversary tour, we have chosen to memorialize him and to ultimately to immortalize him. In our hearts, there is no greater display of respect than what we are doing.
"We were never interested in performing with a hologram and using pre-recorded vocals. We didn't feel that STATIC-X performing with a 'special guest' singer that everyone recognized would accomplish the 'Wisconsin Death Trip' vibe or experience.
"For us, this is all materializing better than we could have hoped and we have no doubts that we are gong to to bring the fans an amazing 'Wisconsin Death Trip' experience. The stage production is insane and the band is sounding legit as fuck!
"In closing, we know that Wayne would be honored by all of the love and effort that has gone into this. We know that Wayne will be with us each night, in spirit, as we celebrate 'Wisconsin Death Trip' around the world.
"We are very excited to get out there and celebrate with you all very soon."
STATIC-X plans to perform the majority of its debut album at each show.
"Project Regeneration", featuring the last recordings of Static, will be released later this year. The rest of the group's original lineup will also be featured on the album and in the music videos.
STATIC-X is currently focused on finishing 12 tracks for "Project Regeneration", with more than half of them set to feature Wayne's lead vocals.
STATIC-X is in the process of finalizing a label partner in order to ensure that "Project Regeneration" will be promoted and distributed worldwide, just like all of the band's previous albums.
Last fall, STATIC-X released a teaser featuring clips from a brand-new music video, as well as five new STATIC-X tracks — "Road To Hell", "Something Of My Own", "Terminator Oscillator", "Hollow" and "Disco Otsego" — along with a personal message from Campos about the inspiration behind "Project Regeneration".
Wayne Static died in November 2014 after mixing Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, according to the coroner's report. The 48-year-old, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was found dead in his Landers, California home.
Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 and achieved commercial success with "Wisconsin Death Trip", which included the rock radio hit "Push It".
The group issued five more studio albums before disbanding permanently in June 2013. Static had been pursuing a solo career at the time of his death.